Facebook's ambition

Is this how the web looks to Facebook?

Ambition.

It’s the one word that kept coming up in conversations I had around the halls today at Facebook’s F8 event. Whenever I heard that word it was clear we were talking about Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook. Compared to last week’s weak moves by Twitter, where its CEO barely even announced anything, yesterday’s moves by Facebook were huge.

OK, I heard another few words:

“Visionary.”

“Scary.”

“Huge.”

“Unbelieveable.”

“Blown away.”

“Zuck has balls.” or “Facebook has balls.”

“Big moves.”

Heck, listen to David Kirkpatrick, who worked for Fortune for more than 20 years and just finished a book, Facebook Effect, about Facebook. I catch up with him here before the press conference, which happened just after Zuckerberg and team made tons of announcements:

Listen to the words he uses: “This is not just another company, it is a transformational phenomenon.”

“It is really great, but it is really scary in some ways too.”

By the way, after I talk with David I talk with quite a few other movers and shakers in the tech press in that video so you can get a sense of how we all reacted to the news. Then, at about 20 minutes into that video you get to see the full press conference (I have the only video of it on the Web that I’ve seen so far).

Before I explain more about what I mean when I say Facebook wants to own your digital fingerprints, there are a few other reactions I want to get in here. The first is with a couple of guys from the National Hockey League. Listen to how excited they are about the new features they turned on yesterday on NHL.com. You can “like” every player there. Some players already have hundreds of likes in just the first few hours.

Then watch how Pandora’s CTO, Tom Conrad, describes Facebook’s moves and how Pandora is now much more social because of these changes. “Mark is right when he says Web experiences want to be social.”

Finally, head over to Facebook’s official site and watch some of the videos if you haven’t seen them yet.

WHY IS THIS SO AMBITIOUS?

These moves are ambitious for a few reasons:

1. It gets Facebook plastered all over the web. Already Facebook likes are on many many sites and I’d expect to see Facebook’s new social features to show up on at least 30% of the web’s most popular sites within a month.
2. It lets us apply our social graph “fingerprint” to sites we visit. You do this by adding social plugins to your site, which is pretty easy to do.
3. It lets us apply our behavior “fingerprint” to sites we visit. Again, by adding social plugins onto your sites.
4. Facebook gets to study everything we touch now and will bring a much more complete stream back to the mother ship. This lets them build new analytics features for publishers, too, as All Facebook’s Nick O’Neill writes, but now Facebook will have the best data on the web for advertisers to study.
5. Facebook gets us to keep our profile data up to date. Marketer Ed Dale nailed why this is such a big deal.
6. Facebook gets to overlay a commerce system, called Credits, on top of all this. Justin Smith of Inside Facebook writes about that.
7. Facebook has opened up to enable all this stuff to flow back and forth and has removed the 24-hour limitation on storing data gained from its API. This is probably the biggest deal for developers, Inside Facebook writes about that, but they’ve also made their API more granular so that sites can ask for, and get, very specific data instead of getting everything stored on a user. We’ll be talking about this for a while, because it actually has good implications for privacy.
8. All this new data will enable Facebook to build new kinds of search experiences, as All Facebook hints at in a post where they say Facebook is trying to build a version fo the semantic web. Search Engine Land goes further in detail about what these changes will mean.
9. It lets Facebook minimize the need for a “public” fan page, like mine. Inside Facebook explains more in detail why this is true. Mostly because they’ll spit all those bits over onto my blog, if I add the code to my blog (which I’m pretty sure I will).
10. Finally a stream of focused bits for the people who are actually visiting your page can be pushed back out to you, as Inside Facebook demonstrates.
11. They made the API much simpler and shipped a powerful graph API so more developers can build apps for Facebook (this has been one of the advantages of Twitter, for instance, because Twitter’s API was simple to figure out). Heck, you can even hit it from a web browser to see what it returns. Here is what it returns for http://graph.facebook.com/scobleizer (if you want to try it yourself, just include your Facebook name instead of mine).

All this Web belongs to me

Is this all a deal with the devil, as RWW asks? Absolutely! Sebastien Provencher has another concern: that Facebook will gather data but not sure the goodies back (like analytics and monetization). GigaOm’s Liz Gannes notes that Facebook now is a single point of failure for the Web. Leo Laporte says he won’t use the new Facebook features on his sites. Dave Winer goes even further and says that the answer to all this must be “no.”

These are legitimate concerns. Let’s explore why:

Let’s key in on #2: your social graph — the people connected to you in various ways — is a fingerprint. My social graph is different than yours. So, when I click “like” on a hockey player on NHL, I’ve applied my fingerprint to that hockey player. Now what if 1,000 other people do that? That site really has a lot of details about the average user that’s visiting: details they never would have had access to before. But that’s not what’s scary. What’s scary is the traffic boost that these sites will get. Why? Because those 1,000 people will drag all their friends over. Actually, no, that’s not scary either.

What we’re really scared about is another very powerful company is forming. One that we don’t yet fully trust. Heck, just a few years ago Facebook erased me from the web for 24 hours. I can’t forget that, even though now I’m good friends with most of the Facebook execs. Let’s say Facebook wanted to kick you off the system, it could, and that could have deep implications for your business, career, etc.

Now go further, we’re all going to be very addicted to Facebook’s new features very quickly. The website that doesn’t have Facebook “likes” on it will seem weird in a few months. In a few years? Almost every site, I predict, will have them, and the other components that you can check out above (and more that will come soon, both from Facebook as well as other developers).

My fears are that Facebook might turn evil and use its position against organizations, the way that Apple locks out organizations from shipping apps (do you have Google Voice app on your iPhone yet? I don’t). Imagine if Facebook wanted to turn off the New York Times, for instance. It could. And that’s a LOT of power to give to one organization, even one that’s earned my trust like Facebook has. This is why I keep hoping Google has a clue (so far it hasn’t).

Tomorrow during the Gillmor Gang I’ll try to talk about the identity fingerprints that Facebook now has under its control. It is a scary world, but one that has huge benefits to all of us.

Today I told someone like I felt like I was at the completion of a major piece of commerce infrastructure that would affect our lives for decades. I likened it to the cross-continental railroad. Remember that? Well it changed the world. It opened the west. Made new careers possible. Let fresh food from California get to Chicago before it spoiled and all that. But it created an organization that had a LOT of power that wasn’t always used well.

Today I told Zuckerberg that he now has the modern-day railroad in his grasp and challenged him to both win our trust and not abuse the major power he’s going to aggregate.

So far I’m hearing all the right things from him and the employees around him. They know that this is a major, ambitious, move and they are going to move carefully and deliberately from here. They better or else we’ll see regulators move into control this business like we’ve never seen in our industry. One CEO, who asked not to be named, told me in the hallways today that Facebook is now a utility that the industry is going to rely on and he noted that utilities usually are heavily regulated to make sure that they don’t abuse the power they have over people and businesses.

The moves Facebook made today ARE that significant. Don’t miss Facebook’s ambition.

Oh, and if you’d like to hear more later today we’ll do a special Gillmor Gang and we’ll have Bret Taylor of Facebook on to fill in more details at noon Pacific Time. Watch building43 live then.

Published by

Robert Scoble

As Startup Liaison for Rackspace, the Open Cloud Computing Company, Scoble travels the world looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology for Rackspace's startup program. He's interviewed thousands of executives and technology innovators and reports what he learns in books ("The Age of Context," a book coauthored with Forbes author Shel Israel, has been released at http://amzn.to/AgeOfContext ), YouTube, and many social media sites where he's followed by millions of people. Best place to watch me is on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble

Comments

  1. It's ambition that drives innovation forward, so yes, I think this is a major step forward for the whole industry. Amazing to watch stuff like this unfurl, isn't it?

  2. Huge. Just huge but very very exciting.

    Love this: “Today I told Zuckerberg that he now has the modern-day railroad in his grasp and challenged him to both win our trust and not abuse the major power he’s going to aggregate.”

  3. Exciting, Huge & Tremendous…..

    Now …. The Question..

    Who will moderate Facebook and what they will be able to do with this huge amount of data..?

  4. They certainly don't have my trust after the recent changes to privacy (and the default behaviour within Facebook). It was unsettling.

    I like the idea of how powerful this is for users, but after a few years on Facebook, there is a large amount of data about me that I wish to be for just me, and my close friends.

  5. As a developer I hadn't yet been really compelled to build anything for facebook, because the platform seemed too restrictive. It looks a little more attractive now.

  6. We are all going to have to learn new ways to deal with privacy. Personally I think privacy is dead. Get over it. If you want it to be private don't put it on a computer and don't put it on the Internet. My entire life is public. If you want, you can search for naked photos of me (there are three out there). Etc Etc.

  7. “A little?” Dude, you should have seen how packed the developer sessions were all day today. This is MAJOR stuff and already many of my favorite Websites have implemented them. The Pandora.com implementation is magical.

  8. Very true!!! Even we had the similar thought for Google too.. but this IMHO … this is a bit more into privacy .. what I mean is ..

    What would happen when they know our family relations, business structure and banking details..

    Google search indexed millions .. but not necessarily personal and private level information (unless it was public)

    :)

    1. All of this is very exciting. There is tremendous momentum behind these ideas and services.

      I am struck by all the “people-centric” notions, the “instantly social” nature of these innovations against a backdrop that really is not structured in a “you-centric” way at all.

      Facebook is going to change everything. That seems almost definite at this point. But Facebook is not going to be the final format of the network… it is not going to be the “utility” that some are talking about. The reason is simple:

      Your ‘Identity’ will refuse to be structured in the manner that the Facebook service will require to fulfill its corporate mandate. Counter to all suggestions otherwise, these innovations are not people-centric… they are “Service-centric”.

      Your Identity is structured as a data-slave. Thats unsustainable. Solutions will emerge elsewhere.

  9. Putting privacy to one side, I'm more satisfied that there are businesses which are modelling how the world can be different. We can argue about the details but what I find most important is that a company – in this case Facebook, but same applies to Google – is willing to put a stake in the ground and not just chart a vision, but actually start to deliver on their promise of using the internet to benefit humanity.

    The fear is not these initiatives are too big; it is that they are too small.

  10. We, in the new deals with the privacy, are at different off-reality state locations, levels of developments, legal system. Not to mention EU. Yes, I am impressed from the Zuckerman's keynotes. Thanks for the post. Very interesting for me. Sharing.

  11. Scobleizer, don't worry about whether Facebook turns “evil” or not, the free market is the ultimate regulator. For instance, Apple unallowing Google Voice only served to give Android more momentum. See how it works? Apple gained nothing from that move ( they may have had to do it bc of AT&T) and gave mindshare to competition.

    Having said that I don't believe they will be evil because in a true free market it's not in they're interest. The more “Good” they are, the more influencers will praise them, the more value their brand will have.

    At any rate what these moves amount to is enabling the mainstream, previously anonymous web users to feel more secure in entering the name space of the web. It also enables legitimizing of the Open Web because when a mainstream user sees the Facebook brand on a site with faces of real people it's like a badge of trust. This reinvigorates the Open Web, as the mainstream users and businesses move en masse to the web.

    I see this as a natural cultural progression, just as the GUI was to the PC.

    Google, Twitter, and Apple aren't going away. @Anywhere will do the same thing for mainstream trust. Apple and Google will continue to innovate and grow. As GaryVee says, we're just beginning this massive move of billions of dollars in advertising from Mainstream media to the web.

    Remember when the Old Media dominated every facet of our cultural lives? They were definitely being evil with their lock in models instead of innovation. What broke that? Regulation? Nope. Regulation would have stopped innovation and let them hold onto their power.

    What stopped them was innovation, the microchip, then fiber optics and the Internet itself. In A true free market evil companies can never win.

  12. Robert,

    Stunning event and stunning reflections here.

    Thank you for your insight and for covering the events yesterday you clearly hold a unique position literrally sitting on the edge of the platform at the press conference (at the feet of Mark) and apparently can survive without much sleep – high on adrenaline I would imagine.

  13. Privacy is not dead nor will it ever be. The more people are pushed into the public sphere, the more they'll seek out the darker corners of society to indulge in what they feel needs to be kept private and/or secret.

    The internet and social media has to allow for varying degrees of privacy and companies like Facebook need to integrate into our lives without becoming intrusive. I liken it to the onboard ship's computer in Star Trek; heard but not seen. I also welcome regulation to make sure that Facebook doesn't become “too big to fail” as you Americans like to say. MySpace thought they were bigger than life a few years ago now it is online social suicide to be a member. Facebook could suffer the same fate if they become too ambitious and greedy.

  14. Privacy isn't dead, of course. But it has dramatically changed over the past decade and is still undergoing intense changes. Now with Blippy I can share my credit card purchases with you. WIth Foursquare you know where I am. With Google Health you'll know about my kidney disease, and so on, and so forth. These are all things none of us would have thought of doing a decade ago. I agree that Facebook will suffer if they misuse their powers, but they are making all the right moves lately. Most people don't care about privacy and if they did they'd be on systems like Pip.io.

    1. Whether Facebook decides to make the’right’ moves from this point forward is pretty much irrelevant. Unfortunately, as we have seen time and time again (I’m looking at you, Apple), all companies eventually become ‘evil’ or, more accurately, self-serving. That is capitalism. The only proven way to keep this in check to some degree is for another large player, like Google, to have enough market share to be a VIABLE alternative. Then, when they do misuse their powers, users can just switch over to that other major social network. Right now, with FB being the only real player in the game, no one has anywhere to switch to to make them pay for that abuse of power. So, all FB needs to do right now is just avoid being so overtly evil (Beacon) that they scare users off social networking completely and they will be fine.

      I am a developer so innovation is basically my God so I like a lot of the concepts underlying Facebook’s ambitions, but some other company really needs to step up to keep them in check and no one seems to be doing it on a significant enough level yet.

  15. After getting innundated on YouTUbe with a bunch of puerile jerks on YouTube over the past few days I am totally in support of ONLY having positive feedback mechanisms. Jerks can go to hell, personally. We need more positivity in our lives and less negativity.

  16. Extremely exciting Robert, glad you took the time b/w your hectic schedule to post. I loved the social plugins but the like button can be deceiving – a play for the spammers out there. Check out this post, there's some insight here: http://arnab.org/blog/deceiving-users-facebook-

    I can't help thinking to myself that in the future would anyone of us want to search google for our friends. With the social open graph and the connections facebook has really really thought this through, definitely an extremely calculated move.

    What i liked the most was that they quietly updated the Facebook Developers page and BOOM all the goodness came out of nowhere. I think i lost some sleep last night checking everything out!!

  17. That's unfortunate. As a woman, I have made the choice not allow non-IRL friends to “friend” me on Foursquare. I also know other women that have made the same choice. Also, doctor-patient confidentially is a hard-won right and people should seriously think about sharing any private information that is protected almost absolutely.

    With sites like Foursquare, knowing your whereabouts in conjunction with sites like FB or Twitter opens one up to being robbed whether physically or home while the owners are away. Not that robbery doesn't occur already but it's easy pickings if thieves wise up and work the social media sphere for victims.

    We've already seen how employers have been abusing social media to make non-work related decisions regarding employees. Too much access to our private lives will result in less authenticity as people become more “plastic” online. People will just construct more elaborate facades to make sure they are not seen as undesirable or making unfavourable choices.

    Social media will play a crucial role in the future but for the sake of individual freedom and authenticity, I for one, am going to continue to keep much of my life private and offline. I've done that with Facebook by only allowing 30 people (so far) to friend me. I have drawn a line in the digital sands; I hope others will follow.

  18. That's unfortunate. As a woman, I have made the choice not allow non-IRL friends to “friend” me on Foursquare. I also know other women that have made the same choice. Also, doctor-patient confidentially is a hard-won right and people should seriously think about sharing any private information that is protected almost absolutely.

    With sites like Foursquare, knowing your whereabouts in conjunction with sites like FB or Twitter opens one up to being robbed whether physically or home while the owners are away. Not that robbery doesn't occur already but it's easy pickings if thieves wise up and work the social media sphere for victims.

    We've already seen how employers have been abusing social media to make non-work related decisions regarding employees. Too much access to our private lives will result in less authenticity as people become more “plastic” online. People will just construct more elaborate facades to make sure they are not seen as undesirable or making unfavourable choices.

    Social media will play a crucial role in the future but for the sake of individual freedom and authenticity, I for one, am going to continue to keep much of my life private and offline. I've done that with Facebook by only allowing 30 people (so far) to friend me. I have drawn a line in the digital sands; I hope others will follow.

  19. If you folks think Zuckerberg is running this show and coming up with these “ideas” you’re nuts. He’s a puppet.,

  20. When wondering about whether we can trust Zuckerberg/facebook, I always remind myself of a few things:

    1) Beacon.

    2) Zucks handling of the ConnectU/Winkelvoss brothers (DBs themselves to be sure..)

    3) and this handy little quote from http://www.dickipedia.org:

    “In 2004, Zuckerberg debuted a primitive online social networking site called Facebook, named for the annual publication that collegiate upper classmen use to identify attractive freshmen girls with low self-esteem. At the time, Zuckerberg planned to offer the service only to students within the Ivy League, because, as is widely known, Ivy League students have long had problems finding ways to network with one another. “

    Hmmm…

    OK, other than that, the announced features have amazing potential… for evil?

  21. What amazes me about all of this is how unchallenged Facebook has been, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. The implications on the future of the web are enormous. This will go a LONG way towards answering the questions I always get from clients – what do we do after Facebook dies?

    Facebook is clearly in the game for the long haul, and it's going away. They will be our social Google, if not eventually more.

    The one piece that Facebook didn't mention and I'm really churning on working out, is what this means for brands. Other than more social content, what are the implications for marketers?

  22. You are absolutely nuts if you believe that. I know him and many other team members (both current and past) personally and he's very much in charge there.

  23. I have three naked pictures of me on the Web and I still got three jobs. Explain that. Also, I have drunken photos that were published in TechCrunch and I survived. The world is changing. Also, regarding Foursquare, I have 7,000 friends and never have had my house robbed.

  24. Oh and just as an example of 'too much of a good thing' re: social media. Look at that poor guy Gizmodo outed as losing the prototype iPhone. He basically had to go into digital lockdown after the Gizzy team posted his Twitter and Facebook information. Suddenly he was under siege by a curious readership that like in your YouTube comment below, sometimes sympathetic but most often nasty and lacking any empathy. It must be like being rundown by rabid sociopaths.

  25. Good reference to beacon, glad you brought it up. Someones gotta step up Alex and it's certainly FB, when have they ever been the transparent company.. Like google? haha. Tables turn, and crosses burn (no pun intended).

  26. Yup, being trampled by the 14-year-old anonymous lynch mobs ain't fun, that's for sure. Don't know what we can do, though. I delete them off of my sites.

  27. Ahad, saw that too about 1 hour ago, that's a pretty big hole in their design of this. Makes you wonder even more if you can trust anything they do.

  28. Hey Robert, just looked at your FB formerly-known-as-fan-page. How do you feel that your 11,000+ fans were just downgraded to “People [who] Like this”?

  29. Stephen, I really hope you're right. What if the “free market” is (even just a little) rigged, as it always seems to be? Don't forget that Microsoft also has their powerful paws..I mean hands..in this. And even though I am a long-term MSFT customer, I don't trust them an inch.

    It's a little like Ballmer whispering into Zuck's ear “come over to the dark side, Marc…”. Not that Zuck needs much prodding at all…See my comment below.

    Will Facebook end up being the injection of new blood into the aging vampire that is Microsoft's PC monopoly?

  30. Are you wealthy or upper-middle class?

    As for Foursquare; it's a complicated choice for women to allow someone that much access to her whereabouts. We are always aware that poor choices could result in putting ourselves at risk for rape or sexual assault. I don't feel comfortable letting strangers know where I am unless it's absolutely necessary. To add a little perspective; I live near a prison that houses 2 of the most notorious serial killers in Canadian history. Also, 2 weeks ago, a female RCMP member was attacked while jogging on the trail where I go hiking. Luckily she kicked his ass and was able to restrain him until back up arrived.

    I don't want to seem like I have nothing positive to say in regards to social media but I just believe that privacy is a very big deal. I did however, really enjoy your article.

  31. Agreed that that terminology was a bit awkward in many circumstances. But “Like” is a heck of a lot more casual than being a “fan(atic)”. The people who previously signed up must have had cleared the “fan” threshold in their own minds, no?

    Just pointing out what happens when you switch the terminology/semantics within a database. There are always consequences…

  32. As a content creator/entrepreneur, I'm more excited than anything. I feel like this is a great opportunity for folks who have all along had a focus on social relationships (one-on-one online) to reach new people in a scalable way.

    And, as usual, your privacy is up to you. You don't “HAVE” to like anything if you don't want to. It is your choice. I know I will use it and I think many will. Until we get into the meat of it and see what happens over time, it is fun to guess though.

    Side note: Anytime you mention hockey, I'm definitely going to comment :)

  33. Robert,

    The impression that I get from recent events is a.) Twitter users blissful, developers somewhat nervy and marketers trying to see the opportunity whilst, b.) Facebook users nervy (privacy? and security?), developers Wow! and marketers champing at the bit – would you agree and do you see any downside in this for either or can it all be positive?

    Also there seems to be a sense of sabre rattling with Facebook / Microsoft on one side and Google / Twitter on the other – is that a true?

    PS not yet on Facebook – do have concerns but will have to bite the bullet. also just changed my Disqus profile to correspond with twitter.

    Keith Sholl aka SocialMediaOWL

  34. Good point, Jon. It IS amazing that the other companies have dawdled about for so long. Google Buzz was really a HUGE disappointment as far as demonstrating how little Google gets social.

    Note the comments by Om Malik in Robert's video above.

    They created a not-as-good version of Friendfeed, when Friendfeed ironically was bought out and basically decommissioned by Facebook!

    Twitter is moving rather slowly, and, as Robert also points out above, rather dreamily. By comparison, Facebook is showing naked ambition and even aggression.

    MySpace is dying due to the cluelessness of Murdoch and others. They should have just thrown away their entire codebase a few years ago, imported everyone's settings/social graph into the new codebase, and hoped that users where going to go along with it. As it were, the old slowed them down so much that they never had a chance vs. Facebook.

    Who else is there? Yahoo has dropped the baton a long time ago, as has AOL (Bebo disaster anyone?).

    No, the small team at Friendfeed put up the most credible challenge, even though they were missing all of the non-geeky, mass psychology stuff (which kept them small). And Facebook simply took them off the game board, AND took on their engineering talent for good measure (after having busily copied most things they had done).

    Wait until you see Facebook come out with their planned full-featured email/messaging. What will we say then?

    “Scary -> Scarier?”

  35. Alex and Robert,

    Just lost my comment and have to start again – that's annoying!

    The use of “fan” can be off putting as it is too OTT as in “fanatic”, although on the other hand “like” is perhaps too understated. I know that my wife would be disappointed if I were to simply to say that “I like her lemon meringue pie” for instance, as that would not be praise enough, the inference being that I had tasted better leaving with a feeling that she had let me down.

    So is there a suitable word that holds the middle ground between these two and are we already to far down the road with the transition from “fan” to “like” to contemplate another shift?

    Keith Sholl aka SocialMediaOWL

  36. @Robert, you covered everything – from Likes t0 Fb credits. Facebook may use all your friend's recommendations to turn on new Beacon ad system

  37. Robert
    Thanks for putting this all together in one place. You hit on a point that I think is very important and scary. You said:

    Let’s say Facebook wanted to kick you off the system, it could, and that could have deep implications for your business, career, etc.

    My fears are that Facebook might turn evil and use its position against organizations, the way that Apple locks out organizations from shipping apps (do you have Google Voice app on your iPhone yet? I don’t). Imagine if Facebook wanted to turn off the New York Times, for instance. It could. And that’s a LOT of power to give to one organization, even one that’s earned my trust like Facebook has.

    I have those same fears as you. I wrote a post on my blog that addressed this very issue with the release of the iPad (http://www.livinginthe4thscreen.com/the-potential-dark-side-of-apples-ipad ). Increasingly we are giving control to all forms of media to a small group of people.

  38. Hey Alex!

    I appreciate you reading my long comment. Your point is taken. I don't trust MSFT at all either, which is one reason I made “the switch” 2 years ago, which in some ways proves my point. Their “evilness” lead to the rise of Apple and Google along with the Open Web and Web 2.0. Money flowed into their competitors, Linux as well, due to their “evilness” But then in turn the free market and the resurgence of Apple and rise of Google at least forced them to put out a better product in Windows 7 (From what I've heard, I haven't used it) And forced them to move Office to the Cloud and lower its cost I believe.
    Let's say MSFT Docs and Facebook are successful. At the very least, it will force Google and Apple to up the ante and continue innovating. Also one could say Apple's “Evilness” in the 80's (Greed in pricing) led to the rise of MSFT. MSFT saved us from an Apple dictatorial regime in the 90s and now ironically Apple and Google saved us from a MSFT world in the 2000s

    At the very least, Microsoft is having to compete, which is more than I can say about Comcast and the Telcos which is a highly regulated industry, and I would argue not a true free market. If we had a true free market in telco, I believe we'd all have fiber speeds and lower prices, and lower prices in wireless.

    Having said all that, your point is well taken. I don't trust any one Company, but I believe the free market and competition is the best “regulator”

    What do you think?

  39. A well seasoned analysis of facebook’s “like” web-tsunami.

    One of the oldest wisdoms in value chain marketing is that the owner of the relationship with the customer is the one that determines how much profit share other value contributors get — irrespective of how much value they actually deliver to the end-customer. A phenomenon exploited at large by Telco operators that, owning the (billing) relationship with customers dictate the revenue level of any value-added service supplier, such as content providers for mobile operator services. The same applies to Apple’s iTunes ability to dictate pricing shares (and other idiosyncrasies) on Apps, content, etc.

    facebook wants now to capitalize on their, admittedly huge customer base. They own the relationship with their users and have found a way of building a powerful expansion vehicle by sharing revenues with partners. Not really new as a model, obviously.

    What is new, though, is the dimension (mass) to which this could quickly evolve. If you are right in that very soon not having a “like” button on your web site will be seen as odd, a marketing power would have been created without precedence. Compliance implications? Data protection issues? All in one hand? The impact is vast.

    I hate to say it, but I think it is time for regulation on the use (abuse) of social graph data.

  40. Yup thanks to hacker news! I'm one of those people who digs deeper to look for the truth Alex..From the outside things always look peachy, but when you peel off the layers it's usually a different story all together…

  41. What's true for photo and videos is very different for link content.
    You can now tag people on web pages, while this function is a great sharing tool, I am expecting to be tagged in some porn page or completely irrelevant website in the month to come, just like several people tag me in completely irrelevant pictures.

    There are several level of privacy, you are a public persona, your life is public because you make it so. Some other people don't share this point of view, and don't want to make themselves more available than necessary.

    If tomorrow one of your three nude picture is exposed, you have the authority to say “hey, dudes, you shouldn't care”. If a fake of you in bed with a llama shows, you can say “Hey, dudes, it's me… do you really think I could do something like that? Now where was I…”

    If it happens to me, I'll have to explain myself to my boss, girlfriend and family, because I am not famous and nobody would want to do that to me would they?

  42. You can answer it now: the world's privacy commissioners, like Jennifer Stoddart, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, who was able to make FB address 3rd party app concerns. Or here in the U.S., David Vladeck of the FTC, who has taken an active interest in online privacy at the series of roundtables. Or any of the 10 signatories of the recent letter to Google regarding Buzz. Or the EU itself, for that matter. The regulatory bodies of today may not have gotten the rule making authority quite yet, like the FTC, nor the specific oversight, like the FCC, but if Facebook does, in fact become an “identity utility” for the Internet it's fair to expect that it will see more oversight. Actions like the one you describe, years ago, when you were kicked out will necessarily have more impact and perhaps earn more scrutiny. Hard to say yet how exactly that will work!

  43. “If you want it to be private don't put it on a computer and don't put it on the Internet”

    I don't have control over information that anyone shares *about* me on the Internet. So it's not a question of me avoiding putting stuff online.

    Simple example: Someone takes a photo of me, puts it online, and tags it with my name. I haven't done anything – yet that information is now “out there”.

  44. I think it's important to recognize that electronic privacy doesn't just encompass social networks that you voluntarily join, like Facebook, or locational data you voluntarily share, like Foursquare. In the social media bubble, expectations of privacy are very different. Outside of it, in the commercial, industrial and government space, there are huge questions regarding our control of data. Vast amounts of digital commentary is focused on Facebook and yet, in many ways, the data that credit bureaus hold is much more important to the ability of people to get jobs, clearances, cars or homes.

    If a doctor's office receives electronic patient records online, there's no expectation of privacy? What about a psychiatrist who emails with a patient in a sensitive job? How about a domestic abuse victim posting an anonymous comment in a forum? Or an artist compiling statistics on, say, earthquake fatalities amongst children in a protected online spreadsheet? Or law enforcement requesting location data from wireless telcos?

    Privacy online means more than the voluntary updates that people post to location services or social networks. Consider just how difficult it is to “go analog” and off the grid in the U.S. now, leaving advertising, communications and credit histories behind. As the Internet becomes more and more an intrinsic, even fundamental, part of our daily lives, it strikes me that saying “privacy is dead” cedes enormous power to government and commercial concerns alike.

  45. If future versions of Facebook have a user interface as clunky and user-unfriendly as their current one, I don’t think I would want them to “transform” the Internet for me!

  46. Oh, yes, this is all about Facebook taking on Google. I left Microsoft Docs out of this on purpose and tried to explain Facebook's moves on their face. They are so big that I didn't need to sensationalize them further by making it about a Google vs. Facebook war, although I was tempted, believe me. :-)

  47. And 40,000 people a year die in car wrecks, but that doesn't scare me from driving a car. If I lived in fear all the time I'd have no fun. There are ways to use Foursquare without letting people stalk you, too. I guess you didn't consider that angle. Did you know you can check in on Foursquare without sharing your location?

    1. You’re taking a very US-centric perspective here. Privacy matters for a lot of people in a lot of places in the world.

  48. Robert — I was going to @ you in google reader, and to my surprise your google profile seems to be gone! Which is the oddest thing, since I can see this post shared by you in Google Buzz. I checked it in “incognito” mode to eliminate the “you are blocking me” case. I double-checked by navigating to your google profile right from here. FYI, FWIW, etc.

  49. Robert, now Facebook will know what we like: movies, tv shows, music, athletes, sports teams, restaurants, places, etc… and the ecosystem will send all that information back to Facebook to have it anointed to our fb profile.

    It adds some nice new possibilities to developers, but what if Facebook decides to make a directory of pages about all those restaurants, movies, sports teams? Facebook will be stealing the conversation away from Yelp, imdb and nhl. Discussions that could have taken place on those sites will now be shifted on to Facebook.

    They created groups, events, photos, etc … maybe restaurants, movies and sports teams are next and it would have been fueled and made possible by the developers trusting Facebook blindly.

  50. “Privacy is dead. Get over it.” – that's such a lazy thing to say, I don't believe you can possibly mean it. People who are concerned about privacy are customers expressing a demand, and you can't say that they must conform to your tastes. It's like saying, “Oh, you like chocolate ice cream? Well, I like vanilla, and all my friends like vanilla, so soon the whole world will want only vanilla. So get over it, no chocolate for you!”

  51. My biggest issue on this one is that Facebook's track record of (dis)respecting the rights of its users has definitely been in the bucket of trusting the fox to guard the hen house.

    First, they launched Beacon without consulting with their users. Then they facilitated the Offerpal types of scams to promulgate, and most recently, they did the Privacy Settings Putsch, which as a parent, I found more than a little troubling (i.e., that a company would decide to flip pictures of my kids from private default to public default).

    As a developer, I think what they are doing is the right solution, holistic and technically reasoned, and that their track record suggests that they will execute.

    As a consumer, I resent companies that tell me, “Privacy is dead. Get over it.” One wonders if that was their mantra before they had 500M users, consumers would have signed on.

    Now, it's a simple case of ambition and execution meets the laws of gravity. Interesting times.

    Mark

    Is Facebook a Brand that You Can Trust?
    http://radar.oreilly.com/2009/12/is-facebook-a-

  52. I say outrageous things to get you to think. Old-school privacy is definitely dead. There is a new-school privacy taking its place. People who think the world hasn't changed just aren't facing reality.

  53. I said “lazy” to get you to reply. ;) No one who watches social media could call you lazy and mean it.

    Maybe this is too clever by half, but the very fact that you know the phrase “privacy is dead” will get a rise out of people means that you know there is still a very large audience that desires old-school privacy. To me that means there is a customer demand, but you have to find very creative ways to satisfy that demand considering the realities of the new world order.

  54. For me the privacy is not the biggest problem, my problem is that what happens if i say something or upload a video/picture /etc, that facebook doesn't like it so much …… now FB even CHASES users on the web! is this new age's dictatorship??

  55. I guess people can always choose to surf wearing “gloves” and avoid leaving their mark. Its when that choice is removed or made difficult that we have to worry. Of course, you can also choose to be dark matter to the FaceBook universe and simply opt-out. If people start to lose trust, opting out will increase and presumably FaceBook will then try to regain trust by changing the rules. Beats me why people put so much information on their FaceBook accounts as it is – makes me think of the phrase “can be used in evidence against you” by employers, the IRS, insurance companies, etc. Everyone wants to know more about you as it has value to them. But they aren't exactly paying you to extract that value….

  56. A generic global 'like' button, blah — the “fan pages”, are still cold and impersonal broadcasts, fanhood/likehood is hardly much of a reach, and if Facebook thinks it can make much sense out of the gobbledygook raw data, they are fooling themselves and the lazy armchair marketers that don't want to move away from their hollow laptop screens.

    Counterpoints

    1. Plastered all over web? So? No quid pro quo there, and plastered-all-over is also synonymous with spam.
    2. Social graph “fingerprint”? Please fasten seat belts and extinguish all buzzwords. Meaningless.
    3. Like, like, like, like, like, I mean, like, like. Like, totally, like, like, like, way krad kool, like, totallllly tubular. Sea of data makes fingerprints all but useless.
    4. Study? I like Max and Ruby and Rammstein, make sense of that.
    5. Up to date? Have you BEEN on Facebook? It's half a graveyard, and more just Farmvilling-life-away.
    6. Shop Facebook? No more brick and mortar? Same song as ushered in dot.con crash.Yeah, right. Farmville credits de jour best can hope for.
    7. Flow back and forth, data there, data here. So? Relevancy is key, not mere distribution.
    8. New kinds of search experiences? Wheee, now I can finally know the favorite sugar-coated breakfast cereal of people I haven't seen in 20 years.
    9. No public fan page? How's that even a benefit?
    10. Stream of focused bits? Oh dear me. Givemee some of that ole' time bubble religion. Eyeballs Accounting. Focused bits? Have you gone buzzword batty?
    11. API blah blah. Simpler also means more generic insta-apps to forever plague the earth.

    People are complex, ever-changing, variable, self-contradictory and life is absurd, oceans of raw data only makes things worse and catering to vocal-Facebooky minorities, might kill the larger silent customer majorities.

    Social Media is a con game, media isn't social, and people aren't much either. Organizations forge social experiences…jobs, schools, churches, events — not much else, common interests and common experiences work for a time, but drop-off. Some high-school friend that isn't in my present life, might be good for some get-togethers, but anything more sustaining, requires an organization.

  57. It's not ambition, rather it's desperation, affiliation psychology, gone Teenage/Celebrity Fan Site, yet all subject to Nestle-like mob rule tar-pits.

    The ONLY way to make “fanhood” work is to give something back (make it worth MY while, to fan YOU), and companies won't be willing to do that, out of fear of creating entitlement classes, and opening themselves up to single-issue attack activists.

    This is just a page out of the Microsoft fake-game playbook, Beth Goza style, get the bouncy-bunnies and early adopters, all lit up, pretend that you are doing something, have the marketing guys justify their existence with forums/fan sites/junkets and truckloads of meaningless data.

  58. I'm not so sure privacy is dead. No doubt things are becoming much more open on the net (and the world because of the net) than ever before. But I always figured Facebooks massive growth in the past was due to it being closed/private by default. I figured that's what most people wanted and Facebook offered it. Now that Facebook is opening up so much, I wouldn't be surprised if there is a backlash in the form of users leaving to more private networks.

  59. I'd argue that monopolizing user experience in a virtual heterogeneous global environment like the Internet is more cause for concern than celebration…

    How much of our online experience needs to be socialized?

    Scobs, Carmine here (Charles is such a geeky fuck – heterogeneous virtual monopoly balls – fuck you, Charles…); You know, I couldn't give a rat's ass what my virtual friends on fuckbook think about my pink underwear and my graying hairy ball sack. Fuck them and their stupid status updates.

    Charles here (sorry about Carmine – he's rude and crude, but does make a valid point somehwere inside all that obscenity and anger…); ,

    Look, the world is not driven by pre-pubescent teens who are addicted to information and the dopamine buzz that comes with public virtual information sharing. Or, is it?

    C

    C

  60. Well, I'm sure privacy wasn't the only factor in Facebooks growth. Their brand and name is a bit more (average Joe) user friendly than pip.io .

    On another note, it seems Facebooks privacy controls have always been a bit confusing. Early on, I think everyones profile was private by default.

    I know of people (possibly a minority) who avoid much of the social web altogether. Or if they are on a social network, their profile is private. They are only interested in sharing with close friends and family, not the whole world. There may be more of this private social web going on than we're aware of.

    Many people I know still use email as their main way to connect and share on the web (although this number is surely decreasing). Email, forwards, attachments are an archaic way of sharing on the web now, but for many of them, it's still better than what they had when they were a kid (no internet). Email is for the most part private and they know how to do it. Everyone has an email address. They don't see joining a social networking site as necessary or even safe in some cases.

  61. Just to give everyone a heads up Google is going to buy Facebook shortly….

    GoogleBook – 2012

    IMHO

  62. Robert,

    Many thanks for the response – you didn't get much sleep.

    I thought that I would be seeing you on Inside F8 live now but that's not the case?

    Keith Sholl aka SocialMediaOWL

  63. Robert,

    Just returned to Inside F8 but it seems to have resumed where I left it a while ago – unfortunately was up late last night following your stream at the press conference – have to head to bed now. Will look for a recording tomorrow.

    Don't really have all the attributes of the OWL – not completely nocturnal.

    Keith Sholl aka SocialMediaOWL

  64. Facebook is confusing.
    I add friends gives warnings that makes no sense
    allows me to continue a little bit later on and it disables my account.

    I have build up my account to over 830 friends in a few months time; it was
    fun, frustrating, and most of the time enjoyable except with the confusing
    interaction I have had with the website.

    …Facebook has policies to stop behavior that other users may find annoying or abusive. Facebook’s security systems determined that you were repeatedly using the same feature or engaging in the same behaviors in a short period of time. Because you continued this behavior after receiving multiple warnings, your account was disabled. Facebook cannot provide any specifics on the rate limits that are enforced.

  65. “So far I’m hearing all the right things from him and the employees around him.”

    Then you’re only hearing what you want to hear. Not everyone is as enthused as you about giving their details to every website they visit without even a revocation option.

    For example, I don’t trust you/yours to post this under my own name.

  66. Facebook is here to stay and a truly ambitious force, as you said, Robert. Facebook is a master destination site that ties people together in the world wide faceweb.

    Living online is like being in custody BY CHOICE. Actions, words, videos, photos should run your personal litmus test similar to the Miranda law. You have the choice to remain silent, and know that anything you say will be used against you in a court of law. The bit about an attorney is truly outdated; because the law is years behind online activities.

    Google and Facebook are third parties and therefore on a privacy note, there really is none. It can all be handed over to the courts. In fact, most everything done online or that has personal information in a database can be used to create your personal profile.

    As far as businesses go, it is marketing heaven. So much data that is relevant! You can truly target very specific markets. It is a marketers dream to have profiles available with geographic, demographic, likes, and keywords at the push of a search button.

    Now, if Facebook would just add the feature to “de-select” advertising categories. It is such a waste to see ads that have NO MEANING to the viewer/reader. Personally, if I see one more “weight loss” ad on Facebook (I weigh 120), I just shake my head and think about the waste of screen real estate that could be better served.

    Sherrie Rose
    The Love Linguist

  67. So I'm reading this post, and I definitely hear the whole Facebook/evil argument. But I think there are a few pieces missing. First, evil to me means dumb. Big companies don't get evil, they just so big, they're corporate structures can't handle the weight of the load that's been piled on. Eventually communication breaks down and the right hand doesn't even realize what the left is doing. The bigger a company gets, the dumber it gets, especially when the leadership is limited in its ability to manage a certain size company. That's a fact.

    That said, although I'm concerned about Facebook's ability to manage its size, as it relates to privacy they are basically middleware. I am way more concerned about much less sophisticated companies loosing control of my data (Rock You ring any bells) as I roam the web leaving my digital fingerprint everywhere I go.

    Facebook is basically building a foundation which facilitates outsourcing, then they benefit from all the metrics. I'm sure most of us long ago predicted the “marketers dream” scenario, and that day is coming fast. As a FB developer, this is some really exciting stuff. But as a user I know that our technology and innovation often surpasses our humanity. If there is a way to abuse these new found powers, someone will figure it out and exploit it. I think the Great Recession proved that.

  68. thanks reechard. That is a quite a sight.

    Yesterday, while I was trying to watch the livestream from #f8, I was also trying to research and manage the panic of client whose Facebook Page – ADadsPointofView had simply DISAPPEARED. No message nothing. We knew that Facebook Like Pages, as I am calling them for the moment, were glitching – with “See All People Like This” becoming unavailable, then available again. But it was still a very, very stressful half day for Bruce.

    Thank you Robert for being all over this situation. I've added one more link to the many coming into this article from http://asklindasherman.com/opt-out-instant-pers

  69. This is bad news. The internet should not be so “social” in this way. It simply equates to the misappropriation of personal data and the selling of same for profit. Does the internet really need that much control placed into the hands of some dweeby (and let’s face it, highly dishonest) kid of very questionable moral status who’s hell bent on destroying other people’s business models? I think some of you can’t see the woods for the trees and have not thought through the implications.

  70. To be honest Facebook floods out the whole update thing and makes it all too confusing for users. I can bet if you are not a regular reader or one who keeps an eye on what's latest with Facebook you will be lost every other day as to what has happened or changed on it over time.

    It has to lessen its frequency of changes a bit to make it more understandable for the vast majority.

  71. “So much data that is relevant!”

    Noise is not relevant, nor is it even close to data, it's gerbil-activity — data needs to be actuality, rather transactions/happenings, not vague possibilities, that's mere conjecture. polluting that with real CRM is suicide. And per ads, most seemingly ignore, and the in-knows, Greasemonkey/Adblock off. If companies are going to Facebook-data-fish-with-dynamite style, that's just a spamming equivalent, mired in click fraud soup.

    What it DOES do, is provide mountains of raw stew for marketers to miracle-whip into all sorts of self-justifying scenarios, it's more a marketing-fluff-and-webmaster-maven job-save-tool, than anything real-world relevant or useful.

  72. It is scary to think about how quickly FB could delete your profile and the truly profound consequences that would have. It's not as big of a deal as many make it though, realistically if Google were to delist my company website it would have many of the same effects, if not worse.

  73. There have certainly been rumors about a FB search platform which would show you results based on your friends reviews. I think they are some ways away from that still, but they are already starting with the ads that are shown to each individual.

  74. I think the clear result here is that all marketers need to learn how to effectively use FB and how to at least attain some control of their FB fan pages and reviews etc. Given the relative small expense to advertise on FB when compared with major search engines, they have a clear path for growth.

  75. “Today I told Zuckerberg that he now has the modern-day railroad in his grasp and challenged him to both win our trust and not abuse the major power he’s going to aggregate.”

    Mark Zuckerberg is 25! Maybe bright as far as numbers go, but completely callow about the world and his place in it.

    He does NOT have my trust, especially after some of the stunts he's pulled, and this makes it even less likely that he will ever gain my trust.

    I do hope the answer to these announcements is a rousing NO from at least 98 percent of the people on Facebook.

  76. Hi, Robert — railroad analogy is a little flawed.

    The Internet is the “railroad”, not FB, because “the railroad” is a system, and no single company owned the system. (I confess I don't know how rail owners made money if other trains ran on their tracks.)

    Early RR companies controlled their “turf” by varying track width — making it hard (or impossible) for neighboring trains to run on their tracks. Walled gardens, in effect [1].

    So if you want to compare Facebook with a railroad company, go ahead, but don't compare it with the system. :-) But recognize that the U.S. has not had a railroad tycoon/magnate with anything that remotely approaches Zuckerburg's aspirations.

    FB wants to insert a layer of control on top of a system (designed for interoperability) by funneling data worth billions, apparently, to advertisers and such. This is an extreme form of “single source of data” and I, for one, do not want all of my web footprints to show up in FB. I'll not be playing.

    I have advised students to think twice about using Facebook connect as their “login” to new sites because we don't know what FB might do with that data in the future — a valid concern based on how the company has acted in the past. Unless all of these “like” buttons make it explicitly clear that by clicking it the user is knowingly sending info back to Facebook, I'll be advising students to avoid clicking on ANY “like” button without thinking about where that data might eventually wind up.

    For example, where does the data from clicking “like” on this site wind up?

    [1] http://southern.railfan.net/ties/1966/66-8/gaug… :
    In 1871 no less than 23 different gauges existed in the United States, ranging in width from three to six feet. Within the South, the state of North Carolina prescribed by law a gauge of 4 feet 8 1/2 inches to encourage a traffic flow to its own ports, rather than those in Virginia or South Carolina (each of which were primarily served by rails spaced five feet apart). Goods going between Virginia and South Carolina had to go through at least two interchanges on the way.

    The big money in RR infrastructure — building the Transcontinental Railroad — came from a government contract (to Union Pacific and Central Pacific).

  77. Well… I'm not sure it's as big a deal as you all are making it. So what if I know that my traffic has brown hair and blue eyes and likes turtles? What would I possibly do with that kind of useless information? That being said, Facebook and Google are getting too powerful. They're bloated. Twitter got it right. Simple is excellence.

  78. Can we trust Zuckerberg and Facebook with our personal lives? I’ll hold some judgement, but ultimately they do not throw gestures of trust in our direction. In fact it appears the opposite.

    I’m a marketer, social media practioner and follower of emerging technologies. But there is so much about Facebook’s approach that makes me uneasy as an individual. Even more, the fact that 100’s of my friends and more of the general population have NO context to what’s going on in the back end of all this is really troubling.

    Facebook is taking an interesting and provocative stance to “push” people to openess. But unlike google culture, it’s much more based on the technology and business they want to build and less the user utility, user experience or genuine steps to help people understand and have context for the decisions they make. When I hear fanboy excitement for what’s happening without context to the personal implications it frustrates me, so kudos to you Robert for the words of warning along with the exuberance. I think we need to put in check.. are any of us thinking about the social implication for people in this scenario? Or are we following technology new media fetish?

    Given what I do for a living, I am a bit surprised by my own discomfort and lack of clarity in of all this. That’s even more troubling, given if I don’t get it, everyday users probably aren’t engaged enough to want to know more. They have no real reason to question as Facebook opts to make their public info a default setting and pokes + prods folks to make more info available in unclear ways.

    I dunno.. but I’m guessing Facebook aids it’s own undoing. And I find myself pulling away from the platform. Mostly because they are in no way a people-centered culture. They don’t innovate around what human beings want and need and they are losing my trust. They in the end are technologists that are pushing people to use their “gadget”.

    And in the end.. to Martin Chamberlains point, FB is bloated. Twitter is simple. Google is innovative. I predict we’ll look back at Facebook much in the ways we see AOL and MySpace now. It’s already a mature product. Something will replace it as Twitter and Google expand.

    More here (Danah Boyds FB and Google Privacy Discussion at SXSW):
    http://bit.ly/a4OQ1j

    ..and a fun, if not dystopian fictional account of the open-info future:
    http://bit.ly/aGDbvD

  79. Trust Facebook… After some of the stunts they have pulled I'm not sure if I would ever trust them.

  80. I agree – think of all the blogs that have grown on these social networks
    [lets not focus on Facebook alone] what if Google or Twitter did something
    of the sort with your accounts?

    I for one would not trust putting all my eggs in one basket. It's cool to
    have a 'Social Web' but its better to distribute that control

    Sardar Mohkim Khan
    http://startupmeme.com
    http://twitter.com/smohkim
    http://pk.linkedin.com/in/sardarmohkimkhan
    http://www.google.com/profiles/smohkim

  81. Linda — As it turns out, this was Google's “account lock-down mode” in response to a perceived security threat; After Robert verified his true identity the account was re-instated. Not a glitch, a security measure! Personally, I'm quite reassured :-)

  82. If you think about it Facebook just enabled twitter lists for Facebook essentially. Everyone's website/content will be sorted by how many fans are generated around the content/topic all based on curation based on a recommendation. Not to earth shattering if you believe in it. All they did was moved this ability to to build lists to every single webpage if they so choose.

    The BIGGER news would be anything to do with “search” . As with twitter its all going to come down to battling google in the search sphere and to throw advertising against it. Facebook has a very good chance of winning in that it has layered out a “social graph” underneath itself all while bringing humans not machines into the fold.

    Good post Scoble!

  83. Well… I'm not sure it's as big a deal as you all are making it. So what if I know that my traffic has brown hair and blue eyes and likes turtles? What would I possibly do with that kind of useless information? That being said, Facebook and Google are getting too powerful. They're bloated. Twitter got it right. Simple is excellence.

  84. Trust Facebook… After some of the stunts they have pulled I'm not sure if I would ever trust them.

  85. I agree – think of all the blogs that have grown on these social networks
    [lets not focus on Facebook alone] what if Google or Twitter did something
    of the sort with your accounts?

    I for one would not trust putting all my eggs in one basket. It's cool to
    have a 'Social Web' but its better to distribute that control

    Sardar Mohkim Khan
    http://startupmeme.com
    http://twitter.com/smohkim
    http://pk.linkedin.com/in/sardarmohkimkhan
    http://www.google.com/profiles/smohkim

  86. Linda — As it turns out, this was Google's “account lock-down mode” in response to a perceived security threat; After Robert verified his true identity the account was re-instated. Not a glitch, a security measure! Personally, I'm quite reassured :-)

  87. If you think about it Facebook just enabled twitter lists for Facebook essentially. Everyone's website/content will be sorted by how many fans are generated around the content/topic all based on curation based on a recommendation. Not to earth shattering if you believe in it. All they did was moved this ability to to build lists to every single webpage if they so choose.

    The BIGGER news would be anything to do with “search” . As with twitter its all going to come down to battling google in the search sphere and to throw advertising against it. Facebook has a very good chance of winning in that it has layered out a “social graph” underneath itself all while bringing humans not machines into the fold.

    Good post Scoble!

  88. After reading and thinking about this for a couple of days, my suspicion is that both Google and Facebook will end up as government regulated utilities/monopolies.

    Think Ma Bell.

    First time a congress critter gets tooled by either of these companies is the beginning of that process.

  89. If you people constantly need applications to keep you in communication about what your supposed friends are doing, your no different than men using viagra to get erections. if you need this, the problem is your not really friends in the first place, regarding the viagra, your not actually excited about who your with. the vapid majority latch onto the crap and marvel at the prarie like vastness of a pov in a high exec (wallstreet like) vantage point. but we live on the ground, this stuff will aid whats already there, it's not going to add much, it's merely surveillance so ad execs like hollywood execs with scripts, can hope, that's it, ….universal passed on stars wars, twentieth century fox passes on et, faecesbook is no different than microsoft making sure their os worked on all computers back in the day, eventually there will be mac(book) linuxbook and boutique identity sites that have more ethics, rather than being run by a precocious life experience noob whos eyes are bigger than the need, facebook will become a shell of what it was two days ago as of now, the myspacification begins, the web is not an apple device and it never will be. the moment there is a reliable option to the default, guaranteed the innovative will take to it and leave as it gets commodified by the clueless. and on and on it goes…

  90. The problem with that is, that there is now effectively no way to do a large number of things we take for granted in our daily lives that does NOT involve putting personal information into a computer. Will Amazon and Hulu bare all to Facebook? What about Pfizer and Novartis? Your insurance company? And so on…

    Some of the most oppressive events and régimes in human history were enabled and sustained by excessive control over private lives and information; indeed, any successful resistance against oppression depends upon control of its own information. Many of us have little choice but to use computers for “ordinary” things now; after 35 years of banging on keyboards every day, RSI gives me unbearable hand cramps after a very few minutes with a pen in hand…and there are millions more like me, and hundreds of millions of the “Facebook generation” who soon will be.

    Fundamentally, personal liberty is meaningless without personal privacy; witness, for example, the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the US Constitution. What I see happening over the last few years — with the “new” Facebook as the logical outcome of the trend — is that a generation who is largely ignorant of and apathetic to personal freedoms and the responsibilities they entail, have been sucked into the corporate maw. “Useful fools,” indeed.

    And, just as a reminder…. it really doesn't matter if you click that 'Like' button on the dodgy Website. If you're logged into Facebook — and the underlying assumption all over seems to be that you will be, all the time — the site will know exactly who you are, and Facebook will know (and happily sell to all and sundry) who you are and where you were.

    Go read 1984 again, and tell me why this is such a great Boon to Mankind™. Living in a totalitarian society already, I can tell you one thing… it sucks. With an absolutely perfect vacuum.

  91. Facebook won't die. Look at myspace. It should have died but someone wanted it. And it is still around. Facebook can lose as much money as it wants, but as long as it gains page view and user count, it has “value” just not in the traditional sense.

  92. There are reasons to want a list of your friends and actions to stay private which have nothing to do with being ashamed of something you've done. In certain circumstances you may have people or institutions who want to hurt you, who'd love to find exactly who you care about or track what you do in order to use it as a tool for abuse. A basic sort of privacy has a crucial place in the world and “don't live on the web” is hardly an option these days. Pretending this isn't the case for the sake of “ballsy progress” seems irresponsible, insular and myopic.

  93. I'm sorry, this is social coercion, not social web. I want to aggregate my own friends, wherever they are. That's why I went to Facebook. On my account now is a bunch of friends, work friends, family, old friends from other days, and some new Facebook friends that I make, one at a time. Now I go to another site and sign in with the Facebook icon. OpenID-type things — how secure are they? I don't know — but I sign in with one click. Okay, that's convenient, though I wish more sites just used OpenID. Then I write, say, an angry retort on a political site like the Huffington Post. Automatically, this is going to be posted on my Facebook page, right? No, I don't want it to. There are family members there. Aunt Agnes isn't going to like my rants. She's not interested. Or say another site, which involves a discussion of art and sexuality. Or anything and sexuality. Well, if some 15-year-old family member is my Facebook friends, not appropriate for them.

    In other words, I'm very skeptical of the value of this in any way except for people like Zuckerberg to make money. THAT'S the value of the “social media.” Strip-mining our personal lives so that Google and Facebook can send us ads at any time and place of the day. I'm not buying in.

  94. Another problem with Facebook is that a family member posts 20 game things a day. Other things you want to keep and read flow off the screen because she's got to say something about Mafia Wars. Another “Facebook friend” is a social activist. She posts a fair amount of interesting things, but some repetitive or arcane stuff I'm not interested in too. 30 or so things a day. Meanwhile, that personal message, that joke or something you really ARE interested in, just gets buried in the waves.

  95. Thank you so much for the coverage. I couldn't talk corporate into footing the bill for me to attend F8. I'm out on the frontier of Wyoming. Lonely. I LOVE Facebook. It's the ultimate life-streaming tool. It's great news that via social plugins the technology that powers Facebook will be able to connect the dots for me… compile and aggregate my likes and make available to me the likes of my networks. Like I said, it's lonely out here on the frontier. THANKS ROBERT for enabling me to experience much of F8 without leaving Wyoming.

  96. It will all end in tears, nobody can “own” or “rule” the Internet or the Worldwide Web. I look at it as complete capitulation, desperation in fact, to try and make it “worth” the monetary value fools have placed upon. An IPO will be next, wait and see, What they have done is the most dangerous thing ever. With all this information about ordinary people now going to be in the hands of so many, sheer logic says there will be big-time abuses. Just sit back a while and watch it happen. What I also find is how so many so-called experts have been so gushing about it all. You've all been suckered, take of the bullsh*t glasses and get real, please.

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  99. Zuckerburg has messed his diaper to the point that the people in Washingtin D.C. are now taking notice. Greed breeds stupidity. Hubris often leads to self initiated extinction.

    But please Mr. Scoble drink another glass of the kool-aid and pose again shirtless on the WWW.

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